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Madeira TOP-10 Things to do



Madeira is an amazing place to visit, and I still can't believe that I've been able to call it home for the past two years. During our stay, we explored all the best spots on the island and tried all the most exciting activities, many of them more than once! In this article, I'll share my top ten must-visit locations on Madeira. Your trip to Madeira won't be complete without checking out these places.



Our E-Book Guide to Madeira Island

We've created a digital guidebook to Madeira Island. Discover all the best things that Madeira has to offer and find the precise locations of the places we visited. This guide is curated for photographers, but any visitor to Madeira will find great value in it. Check it out in our shop!



What's the best time to visit Madeira?

Madeira boasts a subtropical climate, which means it enjoys warm and agreeable weather all year long. However, due to its central mountain range, the weather can vary in different areas. This diversity is actually a significant advantage, as it means you can always find a spot on Madeira Island with pleasant weather for the day. I've personally experienced all the seasons on Madeira, and each one offered a unique and enjoyable experience. There's truly no wrong time to visit Madeira.



Madeira Top 10 Attractions



Fanal Forest

Fanal Forest is one of those places you could easily showcase on a postcard from Madeira. It is not just unique in appearance but also holds the distinction of being one of the few remaining laurel forests worldwide. This enchanting location is a must-visit during your trip to Madeira.


Fanal Forest is an ideal place for a leisurely stroll amid beautiful scenery. Locals often picnic there, cooking the traditional barbecue – Espetada. Photography enthusiasts will find ample opportunities to unleash their creativity in the enjoyable setting. Additionally, there are hiking trails passing through the area, making Fanal an excellent combination with your hike. For those seeking a more immersive experience, camping permits are available for spending a night in Fanal in a tent.




Ponta do Sao Lourenco

Ponta do Sao Lourenco stands out as the most recognizable spot in Madeira, and it's the initial part of the island visible from your airplane window. Particularly from a bird's-eye view, you can observe how this peninsula resembles a dragon's tail. This rough coastline is an excellent spot to explore during sunrise, making it an unmissable location, especially for hikers and photographers.


Ponta do Sao Lourenco is a fantastic spot for a quick visit or a more extended exploration. It comprises two main areas. One is the Canical Viewpoint (Ponta do Rosto), where you can conveniently park your car in a small parking area right in front of the cliffs, just a few steps away from the viewing spot and the second area, the trailhead for the PR8 Hike Ponta do Sao Lourenco.




Crane Viewpoint

The Crane viewpoint is an exceptionally unique lookout spot that offers a vast panorama of the Atlantic Ocean and the entire Ponta do Sao Lourenco. You can test your bravery by walking on the new glass skywalk. Experiencing the water splashing the rocks under your feet is a very cool encounter! You can also climb a hill from which you get a unique angle of a tall, narrow cliff with Penha d'Aguia and Ponta do Sao Lourenco in the background. You might expect to see many tourists coming here just to capture this classic shot. Besides admiring the beautiful views of the northern coast of Madeira, there isn't much to do at Miradouro do Guindaste, but hey, these are the views for which you came to visit Madeira in the first place!




Pico do Arieiro

I spent the last two years traveling around Madeira, and Pico do Arieiro (1818 m) turned out to be my favourite place on the island. This mountain ranks as the third-highest peak on Madeira and has gained popularity as a sunrise spot, leading to traffic chaos and creative parking issues. When visiting Pico do Arieiro, you can expect to see some extraordinary views. The whole trail PR1 is just incredible itself. Especially the part closer to Pico do Arieiro. It's not uncommon to see cloud inversions here.


The PR1 trail offers breathtaking views of the island's rugged interior. On your way, you'll pass few impressive viewpoints, like the popular balcony - Ninho da Manta and the Stairway to Heaven. This trail is very well maintained, some of the tunnels are quite dark, but a phone flashlight is totally enough to find your way. Keep in mind that after reaching Pico Ruivo, you'll need to hike back or take an expensive taxi to return to your car.




Miradouro Ponta da Ladeira

If you enjoy ending your days watching sunsets in beautiful spots, you should definitely add this viewpoint to your list. On a clear day, you can witness a stunning display of colors, with the sun taking the main stage as it slowly disappears behind the ocean horizon, gently painting the cliffs of Achadas da Cruz in orange and red tones. From the viewpoint, you can also see the fields of Fajã da Quebrada Nova, another top location on Madeira. You can reach it from the village of Achadas da Cruz using one of the steepest cable cars in the world.



Angels Waterfall

Not without reason, the Waterfall of Angels has become one of the most visited waterfalls on Madeira. I must admit, it's quite unique to see a cascade of water dropping directly onto the road, and even rarer to witness people driving their cars underneath for a free car wash.




Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools

On the coast of the charming town of Porto Moniz, you'll discover a truly special attraction. The Natural Swimming Pools stand out as one of Madeira's highlights. This place isn't just for tourists; every day, you'll spot many locals who come to enjoy a comfortable swim in the refreshing ocean water.


The pools are created by volcanic rocks, securing the entire bathing area. This setup allows visitors to swim in calm ocean water without worrying about strong waves or currents. The way these natural pools are formed ensures that the ocean water continuously mixes with the water inside the pools, keeping it clean and fresh.


Additionally, the pools are equipped with a bar, changing rooms, a playground, a first aid station, available sun loungers and parasols for rent, and lifeguards on duty at all times. The pools are open throughout the year, from 9 am to 5 pm in winter and 9 am to 7 pm in summer. There's a year-round entrance fee of 3 Euros to access the complex.



Funchal

When it comes to exploring the lovely island of Madeira, there's no better place to start than Funchal, its capital city. Funchal is a blend of natural beauty, history, and modern art, where you can find interesting things at every turn.


Take a stroll along Funchal's Promenade or in the old town, known as Zona Velha. It feels like going back in time with colorful doors, cool street art, and old buildings. Ride the cable car to visit the green oasis up in the mountains - Monte Gardens, and then have some fun sliding down with Monte Toboggan, a wicker basket sled controlled by two drivers.


Above all, make sure to savor Madeira's special food. You must try dishes like espetada (meat on a stick) and tuna steak. These flavors are some of the best you'll find here, and they'll make your tummy happy. Madeira is famous for its seafood. Some other dishes worth trying include Scabbard Filet, Limpets, Picado, and Bolo do Caco.




Seixal Beach

Seixal Beach in Madeira is a truly stunning and unique spot. Unlike most rocky beaches on the island, this one is made of volcanic black sand. Surrounded by lush green cliffs, mountains, with a waterfall right on the beach, it creates a breathtaking scene for a summer day by the ocean.


Most visitors come to Seixal Beach for a nice swim in the ocean. Seixal is known for being one of the safest beaches in Madeira, making it just right for a dip. Sometimes, you might even catch people surfing on the smaller waves. Seixal also has restaurants and bars for when you're ready to take a break. Plus, there are changing rooms, toilets, and outdoor showers right there.




Achadas da Cruz

Situated on the cliffs of the northwest tip of Madeira, Achadas da Cruz is one of the most visited locations on the island. Its popularity has grown, thanks to having the steepest cable car in Europe, which can take you to Fajã da Quebrada Nova - a traditional village where time feels like it stopped.


After a picturesque ride down in the cable car, which could already be one of the best things to try on Madeira, you'll enter a truly idyllic place. Surrounded by cliffs and at the edge of the ocean, the abandoned farmland of Fajã da Quebrada Nova is peaceful and quiet. You can walk along a scenic path along the ocean coast and simply immerse yourself in Madeira's nature.


Other Articles about Madeira you'd might like

Madeira is such an amazing place to visit, and we still can't believe we've been able to call it home for the past two years. During our stay, we explored all the best spots on the island and tried all the most exciting activities, many of them more than once! This helped us create these comprehensive guides that will help you plan your own trip to Madeira.











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